“Hamachidori“, by Ryutaro Hirota, played by Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra & Kazumasa Watanabe, from the album “Konomichi―Favorite Japanese Melodies (Japanese Melody Series)” (2004)
The struggle between “The Good” and “the absence of good” is a battle of life or death, a never ending struggle since the first instant of time. This is how nations, corporations, the creatures and entities of this world fall, their self love is their fatal weakness.
Their soldiers don’t fight for them, they fight for themselves, as a mirror of their tribe or group, for their self, because of their own self love. They don’t believe in their leaders. When it comes to a battle of life or death, that lack of faith is fatal.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because faith is the foundation of all our relations with God. For the man, the creature, the entity without faith, God has no meaning, value, or place in their existence, their reality.
With faith, however, God can enter into a self-centered existence as the belief in something greater than the self makes room for the Other. The stronger the faith the more God can enter into our life and the more we are willing to accept the Other, and put the self away.
Ultimately, I am told that He becomes our All, the one great reality for which we live and the One for whom we are willing to suffer, and face sorrow and death. Faith does not depend on data or the perceptions of our senses, in fact it is focused on something outside of the passing realities of everyday life. Faith allows us to begin to perceive God and other creatures as He, and they really are.
And perceiving this, the desire to give glory to God as one’s creator gradually grows until life is really about making everything you do a devotion. A devotion is a prayer but more than a prayer.
A devotion is a service to God. A prayer is sometimes seen as a dialogue, a request made to God. Then when people do something extraordinary and devote that act to God, or proclaim that they do it to glorify God, they see that as something different than prayer.
But a devotion, in the way that a monk or any other religious would perform it, is to do every task of daily life as a meditation. To do even the tiniest task as if it is solely for the glory of the Creator and of all creation. Tending a garden, washing dishes, keeping livestock, writing, making music, creating art, fixing a car, taking out the garbage, listening patiently and with charity to others.
When I think about this I wonder that when we transcend the natural self centeredness of the human person, are we no longer just a human? Has God entered into our soul and rendered us “supernatural” in proportion to the vitality and strength of our faith? St. Thomas Aquinas says “Faith is a habitual disposition of soul by which eternal life begins in us”. It is a “beginning of eternal life”.
But other thoughts arise, have I changed in ways that mean I cannot worship God as well, because my self regard is actually stronger for that thought? I do not believe that, but I look beyond my current view of things and wonder if this is dangerous. Am I just indulging in “being clever”? I think that any sentient entity is necessarily filled with contradictions.
Since one essential element of faith seems to be the absence of evidence it seems normal to me that my intellect from time to time doubts what it cannot see and cannot understand. I think these doubts are temptations encouraged by the forces of “the absence of good” in a continuous struggle to separate me from the “Good”… “I do believe, Lord, help my unbelief; Increase my faith” Mk 9,23 – Lk 17,5